More than 100 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from the neighboring Lea and the Penn Alexander schools in West Philadelphia visited the Penn Museum on Friday, October 18, to help kick off the centennial celebration of the Penn Museum's Sphinx—the largest in the Western Hemisphere—in Philadelphia.
Children from the schools met Egyptologists and Associate Curators Josef and Jennifer Wegner, authors of a forthcoming book about the Sphinx, for a chance to hear the story of the Sphinx—it's history, discovery, and how it came to Philadelphia in October 1913.
Then the children donned Sphinx party hats. Even the Sphinx got a party hat, created by Dr. Jennifer Wegner just for the celebration. Everyone sang a song to the Sphinx: Happy Anniversary to You (to the tune of Happy Birthday to You).
It was especially fitting that students from the Lea School participated. Last year, students from the Lea School had an unusual math class—working with Penn Museum docent Dr. Benjamin Ashcom to measure and estimate the weight of the colossal Sphinx. The result: while the Museum's label had stated about 12 tons, the students' measurements came to nearly 15 tons.
Just in time for the celebration, the Museum updated and expanded some information panels on the Sphinx, and one thing had changed: now the Sphinx weight (no one has a scale quite big enough to actually weigh him) is estimated at 15 tons!
All this fun came the day before the Penn Museum's "Hijinks with the Sphinx" celebration, where visitors enjoyed activities ranging from a hieroglyphs workshop, an Indiana Jones-style obstacle course, an ancient hairstyles workshop, scholarly talks, and more. You can see photos from the big celebration here.